The Monroe Building: Supplemental Reading

It took six years to restore and rehabilitate the Monroe Building, a labor of exacting love that is covered in colorful detail in Master Wings’ early publication, The Monroe Building: A Chicago Masterpiece Rediscovered.

“I can’t tell you how many tradesmen came up to me and thanked me for the work,” said Peder Dahlberg, who oversaw the restoration process of the Monroe Building. “They didn’t just thank me for getting the job. They thanked me because it gave them a chance to work at the top of their abilities.”

The book is available for purchase here, and you can read a recent review on the title here.

But once you’ve read the book and stepped outside the Monroe Building, what should you look at next? Below are a few ‘next-door’ titles we suggest:

  1. Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago by Blair Kamin

ISBN: 9780226423227


For more than a decade, Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has been writing fiery, intelligent essays on the state of contemporary architecture. His subjects range from high-rises to highways, parks to public housing, Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry. Why Architecture Matters collects the best of Kamin’s acclaimed columns, offering both a look at America’s foremost architectural city and a taste of Kamin’s penetrating, witty style of critique.

  1. A History of American Architecture: Buildings in their Cultural and Technological Context by Mark Gelernter

ISBN: 9781584651369


This book explores the history of American architecture from prehistoric times to the present, explaining why characteristic architectural forms arose at particular times and in particular places. It’s a collection of intellectual as well as architectural history, and between the hundreds of included illustrations Gelernter builds an effective and manageable framework for the towering subject of American architecture.

  1. A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings by Dan Cruickshank

ISBN: 9781770855991


Journeying across the world, from Syria to Shrewsbury, Sudan to Southern Spain, Dan Cruickshank explores man’s most impressive creations. Structured by theme, this book surveys civilization through the pioneers, visionaries, follies, ancients, rhetoric, scale, survivals and revivals of its greatest constructions. Together, the stories in this beautifully illustrated book offer a stupendous global cultural history – a history that is full of mystery and ripe for rediscovery.

  1. Chicago 1890: The Skyscraper and the Modern City by Joanna Merwood-Salisbury

ISBN: 9780226520780


Chicago’s first skyscrapers, constructed in the 1880s and ’90s, are famous for projecting the image of the modern city around the world. But what did they mean at home, to the Chicagoans who designed and built them, worked inside their walls, and gazed up at their facades? Answering this multifaceted question, this book reveals that early skyscrapers offered hotly debated solutions to the city’s toughest problems and, in the process, fostered an urban culture that spread across the country.

  1. Constructing Chicago by Daniel M. Bluestone

ISBN: 9780300057508


Combining architectural history and cultural analysis, Daniel M. Bluestone explores the creation of Chicago’s architectural landscape. He finds that the structure of the city was influenced as much by the moral, cultural and aesthetic aspirations of its local elite, as by the forces of commerce and capital.

Bonus:  Chicago’s Loop: a new walking tour with Geoffrey Baer

OCLC #: 769236396


All of these titles and many more, including film and podcasts, are available for members to borrow at The Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Visit this link for more information!



Monroe Building